Spring football season is officially in the books. In our first of many installments of The Two Minute Drill, Dan and AJ talk about youth, the wide receivers and defensive backs.
AJ Black: Dave Bartoo of CFB Matrix has ranked Boston College at 124th in terms of returning snaps. That is a ton of turnover, with many new faces. When I look at all the youngin's that will be forced into playing time, the position that concerns me the most is the secondary. John Johnson and Justin Simmons are pretty much the only DB's with any experience. After that it, it's a whole bunch of question marks. Can Isaac Yiadom fill in? Who will be the second safety? Worries the heck out of me in this pass happy day and age.
Dan Rubin: The more and more I'm thinking about it, the more and more this year's secondary looks like a Panda Express menu to me. There's options galore, and the right combination gives you a really kick-ass meal in a pinch. The next time, though, that same meal could leave you in the toilet all night vomiting your guts out. There's no way to tell which one you're getting.
I have a feeling this year's secondary is going to leave us happy one minute and crying into a toilet the next. Isaac Yiadom took back a 65-yard pick six off Darius Wade in the spring scrimmage is encouraging, and I like Justin Simmons a lot as a good cornerback. As a unit, though, there's way too little of a sample size to objectively state BC's improvement or regression until we actually see them in game action. And even then, you're opening up with two FCS schools and Florida State - how can you determine if you're really that good if you kill the first two games and get torched in the third?
A.J. Black: That's a really interesting question. BC is going to open with two cupcake FCS games against Howard and Maine. I wonder what we are going to actually be able extrapolate from these games. The biggest talking point I am going to look for is the maturation of Darius Wade. I want to see him make solid reads, progress down if a receiver if his initial target is covered, and audible to a better play if he doesn't like his presnap read. But it would be foolish to have unrealistic expectations after the first two games. Dan what are you going to be looking for in weeks one and two?
Dan Rubin: You know, that Maine game is probably going to look a lot like the UMass game last year. Even though BC destroyed an FCS team last year in their opener down at Gillette, they only led 6-0 at the half. Tyler Murphy ended up with 173 yards passing but ran for 118 in that game. If Darius Wade can put up numbers similar to that game, I'll be thrilled.
As for that Howard game, anything less than total annihilation would be disappointing. The MEAC is not a very good football conference, and they went 5-7 last year. I know they gave Rutgers a little bit of a headache last season, but I mean -- it's hard for me to justify the direction this program wants to go if it struggles against that team. At least Maine has familiarity with the Eagles. I give the Black Bears probably a little bit too much respect in that regard, but they could at least give BC some headaches to begin the game. As for Howard? If that's not ugly, I'm going to be discouraged. Maybe not upset, but definitely discouraged.
We talk about meaningful snaps, but I'm thinking the unit most in need might be the O-Line. Daz mentioned the lack of depth in spring practice. AJ, I know you have to be concerned about the way that line holding up and how it might negatively impact the offense, right?
AJ: The depth at offensive line is certainly concerning. Mind you that two projected starters were out during the spring game (Jon Baker/Harris Williams). However having only 9 healthy linemen is never a good thing, especially when Steve Addazio loves to lean on the overloaded offensive line that utilizes more than the standard 5 offensive linemen. The OL is a brutal position, and injuries are going to happen. I don't necessarily buy into the "BC is replacing it's entire offensive line", because that's not completely accurate. Williams has had multiple seasons of experience as a starter, Dave Bowen has played in many of the jumbo packages as well, and finally Jon Baker got to see playing time last season. Is it a drop off? Certainly. But I don't think we are scrubbing the page clean and starting all over again.
The starters should be fine, but I worry that there will be a huge drop off if someone has to fill in. We are talking about little to no experience, which isn't indicative of talent, but worrisome when you have Clemson DL or Louisville LB's staring you down.
Dan: Even with two guys coming back, BC has to replace a ton. The guards could really struggle if BC can't replace Andy Gallik at center, and edge rushers are going to feast on young tackles learning on the fly. I'm genuinely concerned that the line isn't going to be able to get the running game moving, which puts pressure on an untested QB. Worst case scenario? Darius is shattered into a thousand little Wades by the end of the FSU game.
AJ: Speaking of lack of experience, what are you thoughts on the wide receivers. Harrison Jackson and Sherm Allston are the most experienced WR's coming back and both have their limitations (injury/size). Do you see anyone new jumping out?
Dan: I'm all in on Nolan Borgersen. His scouting report says he knows how to run routes and get separation from receivers. He's tall enough and strong enough to work defensive backs to fight off their hands. He also knows how to adjust to a poorly thrown ball. A scouting report like that would've been a great fit for last year with Tyler Murphy, so I'm excited to see what he can do with a QB carrying the profile of D-Wade.
AJ: See I'm dying to see what Thadd Smith is going to do this season. During spring practice he seems to have had the best chemistry with Wade. He's got great speed, a little on the small side, but should be a dynamic threat.
The No Huddle Offense
AJ: If Boston College could add any food at Alumni Stadium what would you select?
Dan: Chicken tenders and spicy curly fries. Your pick for a song for the band to play during the games this year?
AJ: I know it's been overplayed, but Uptown Funk by Bruno Mars. Good tempo, has a whole horn part. Works well, I would think. Finally, what non BC player are you most interested to see get selected in the NFL draft this weekend?
Dan: I know all of the talk in the draft is on Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota at quarterback, but we saw firsthand what Garrett Grayson can do. If I'm a team willing to sign a veteran to play the next couple of seasons and ignore the pressure, I'm taking him in the third round.